Star Wars, Sucker Punch, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
This Week in 1976: 'Star Wars' Begins Filming

A long time ago, in a desert far, far away ...

Thirty-five years ago this week, on March 22, 1976, the cameras began rolling on 'Star Wars' in the Tunisian desert that stood in for the planet Tatooine. The shoot was an instant disaster. On Day 2, the region experienced its first winter rain in 50 years. Sand got into the equipment, the robots barely worked, and windstorms destroyed expensive sets. The production eventually moved to a studio in England, but things didn't go much better there. A reluctant crew grumbled over having to work on what they saw as a silly children's movie, and even the actors (notably, Harrison Ford) balked at the dialogue George Lucas had written for them. Even in post-production, the hundreds of effects shots needed forced the budget to balloon from a then-exorbitant $8.5 million to more than $10 million. The whole thing seemed like a cosmic flop in the making.